The following post was written by Jacqui Jackson, iHope’s co-founder and CEO, on her Grateful Mommy blog. It can be accessed here: http://www.thegratefulmommy.com
When people think about the foster system, the connotations that come up in their heads and in their hearts may be suspect at best. Is the system broken? Yes. Are the families that find themselves releasing kids into the system facing a level of brokenness? Yes. But can God make this beautiful? Absolutely – YES! I say this looking back at my own experience, because y’all, I was a foster kid.
I entered the foster system in Bogota, Colombia, as a newborn. Although the orphanage where I was born retained guardianship, God saw fit to place me into a foster family – a family who has stayed a part of my life even until today. Just days ago, I received a heartfelt and concerned Facebook message from my sweet foster momma inquiring as to the health of our toddler daughter who has been facing some stuff. Tell me that’s not love, y’all?!
It’s not something I think about constantly, but as we’ve been living with the reality of the global orphan crisis over the last 18 months, the reality that THIS WAS ME – I was an orphan – has hit home over and over again. God has given the Hubs and I an outreach to steward – Ignite Hope – a ministry with a mission of standing in the gap for the Modern Orphan and for the families who are called to steward their hearts. Our focus is combating the obstacles that adopting and fostering families face with specific, strategic prayer.
All I can think is that years and years ago, my momma and daddy waged war to get me home. One strategic heavenly weapon they used in God’s arsenal of guiding my life was my foster mom, Marta.
To say I loved her is inaccurate, because I love her still. She has remained a true part of our family – even to the point that when God called me to return to Mi Tierra on my first ever international mission trip, I left Angel Girl with the fam and headed south to Bogota, straight to my momma Marta’s home.
It was a place that gave me peace and solace after long days spent working with orphans in the SAME orphanage where I had been those many years ago. One of my dearest hopes is to introduce my kids to Marta one day so that they can understand that love and family sometimes have very little to do with blood and everything to do with the heart of God.
This has really hit home for me this evening as I’ve learned of a little girl in the foster system tonight in California. Like me, she has a Godly, prayerful family loving her and caring for her. But tonight her future feels as if it is in jeopardy. In my flesh, I am angry, hurt, worried, and honestly horrified that a child can be taken from arms who love her because of legal wranglings and ethnicity.
But as I am sitting here in another state, reading her story and praying over her life, I am convinced that God’s still got this, even in the unknown, even in what seems like such hard and ugly circumstances. Jesus is still sovereign. He is watching all of this and I know that if Romans 8:28 was true for me decades ago, it is true for little Lexi right now. Here’s some info on this sweet child:
The other thing I know to be true as a mommy is that her foster mom’s heart needs no additional legal terminology to describe it. I believe she loves Lexi with a mommy heart and I know that this entire family needs prayer coverage to guard their hearts as they walk through some stuff that they never wanted to walk through. And y’all, they shouldn’t walk through it alone. It’s not right. It’s not okay.
We need to bang on the gates of heaven tonight, for Lexi and for her forever family, praying that wherever God places her – not ultimately with social services, but wherever her heavenly Father places her – is the place where she will meet Jesus truly, deeply, and will know without a doubt that He was with her in the dark times and will carry her into the beautiful moments to come.
We need to pray over her foster parents whose hearts have stood in the gap for a beautiful child whom they love, who have stepped out in faith to love without limits, and who are facing more than any parents' should have to face.
And pray for the biological family who for whatever reason and season somehow found themselves in a place where relinquishment was the best alternative for a child. It’s all hard, but God is in the hard. It’s messy, but God blesses our messes.
Tonight, I stand in the gap for this family, remembering that years ago, someone somewhere stood in the gap for me. Join me!